Park's 'Crown of Lights' to be restored to its former glory

A gardens campaigner has succeeded in ensuring flowerbeds in a Heckmondwike park won’t be stripped out.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 11:30 am
The bare flowerbeds in Green Park, Heckmondwike will once again be in full bloom
The bare flowerbeds in Green Park, Heckmondwike will once again be in full bloom

Retired council gardener Pete Fawcett – revealed last week as the mystery gardener who maintains planters in Cleckheaton town centre out of his own pocket – raised concerns over Green Park in Heckmondwike.

Pete, 72, who worked for Kirklees Council’s parks department for 32 years, raised the alarm when he saw that flowerbeds which formed part of Green Park’s “Crown of Lights” design had been left bare.

Every other flowerbed had been left unplanted and Pete counted seven beds, normally full of blooms, which had not been touched.

“These flowerbeds were going to be stripped out and quietly made to disappear when no-one was looking,” said Pete. “However, I am always keeping a watching eye on our parks and gardens.

“These flowerbeds are part of a grand design for Green Park and the crown wouldn’t be a crown without them – they are the jewels in the crown in fact.”

Pete also expressed concern that the council had been slow to replace up to 15 old and dying cherry trees which had to be cut down on safety grounds. Only three replacements had been planted.

The park is in the heart of Heckmondwike town centre and hosted the Crown of Lights Music Festival for many years and also Christmas lights switch-on events.

Pete videoed what he found and sent it to council leader Shabir Pandor and other local councillors, prompting what he described as a flurry of activity in the park.

Coun Will Simpson, cabinet member for culture and Greener Kirklees, said: “The replanting of beds in Green Park is due to be completed this week following a delivery of plants, and will bring the ‘Circle of Light’ back to full flower for all to enjoy whilst in the park.

“The original cherry blossom trees had reached the end of their life and were replaced by three cherry trees gifted to the park by the Japanese embassy to celebrate cherry blossom season.

“We are also exploring additional tree planting to replace the original donated cherry blossoms, further brightening up the space for local residents.”